Flying Bikes rider Ngul Lech capped off an inspired year on the Smart Cambodia MTB Series as victory in the final stage on Sunday, held on the rocky slopes of Phnom Baset near Phnom Penh, helped clinch the A1 Elite class title.
The 21-year-old held off challenges from Flying Bikes team owner and series organiser Pierre Yves Catry and championship rival Yoeun Phyuth of EYCycling on Sunday to take first place in the five-race annual competition by a comfortable margin of 11 points.
Phyuth finished second in the standings with 106 points, seven ahead of Catry in third.
“I am very happy and more energetic now, which means I see that I have grown a lot as I have raced [this year],” Ngul Lech told the Post yesterday.
The national team star from Svay Rieng province says he has been training regularly at Phnom Baset over the past few months and will remain in Cambodia in the build up to next month’s SEA Games in Myanmar, where he is slated to compete in mountain bike and road race events.
“I dare not to say my training is perfect. Actually, we don’t have enough [quality] equipment for training, but I don’t think it will significantly affect my preparations for the SEA Games,” he added.
Lech will enter an event at Kirirom National Park, located in Kampong Speu province, on December 8, two days before the start of the 27th SEA Games.
Meanwhile on Sunday, Flying Bikes’ Srey Ya was in dominant form as ever in the A2 Expert class, beating Prum Rasmey and Sok San to capture the overall title by a commanding 27 points from second placed Arnaud
Demarti. Rasmey missed the silver mark by just a single point.
Mol Sim Lim had the luxury of finishing third at Phnom Baset, having already sealed top spot in the B Intermediate class with 110 points in total. Simon Gadient came runner-up both on Sunday and overall with 84 points, and Roeun Vireak was third with 77 points. Sum Visal won the B Class race but couldn’t break into the top three overall due to his absence in the first three rounds.
Aem Pok was in no mood to release his stranglehold of the C1 Junior class (for ages between 14 and 18), edging rival Sam Pheara into second for a 28-point cushion at the end of the series. Second placed Dy Kakda was usurped by Sam Pheara in the standings after Sunday’s event, while Khim Khav claimed third on the day.
The C2 Novice class (19 to 39 years old) saw San Seyha storm to another race win and wrap up the division by 20 points over runner-up Plot Sareth and Erik Ingman.
Ervin Rellin failed to make the podium of the C3 Novice class (40 years and over) on Sunday, but dramtically held on to his place at the table top by a single point over race winner Tony Malling. 62-year-old Tang Tek Hour proved he could still keep pace with the best of them with a silver medal performance, while Melven Baroga took bronze.
In the women’s race, Yolanda Swetsloot was just too good for sibling cyclists Heng Sivlang and Heng Sivgech, capturing victory and the title on Sunday.
The kids race saw a podium comprised of winner Thim Sothun, Nav Ly and Heng Chanrech for Sunday’s race, but the overall triumph belonged to Suy Meng Heng, who beat Suy Meng Heang and Ear Chung Leang into second and third respectively.